We begin a new feature, looking back at articles published years ago on Consortium News on the current date. This article by Nat Parry, published on May 4, 2004, is about the madness of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The original version of this article can be found here.
By Nat Parry
Marlon Brando’s Col. Kurtz character in “Apocalypse Now” applied crystal logic to the madness of the Vietnam War, concluding that what made sense was to descend into barbarism. The U.S. military hierarchy, judging Kurtz’s tactics to be “unsound,” ordered the colonel eliminated to keep at least a façade of civilization.
A reprise of that tragedy — a kind of “Apocalypse Again” — is now playing out in Iraq, with U.S. soldiers sent halfway around the globe to invade and occupy a country supposedly with the goal of protecting the world from violence and introducing democratic freedoms. As in Vietnam, there is a widening gap between the uplifting rhetoric and the ugly facts on the ground.
On April 30, for instance, with previous claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s supposed links to al-Qaeda no longer tenable, George W. Bush touted a humanitarian justification for the invasion. “There are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq,” Bush told reporters as he retreated to this latest line of defense. But now even those minimal standards don’t appear to be true.
The year-long occupation of Iraq – like the war in Vietnam – has led some U.S. troops to engage in behavior that much of the world views as madness or war crimes.
The U.S. assault on Fallujah in April transformed a soccer field into a fresh mass grave for hundreds of Iraqis – many of them civilians – killed when U.S. forces bombarded the rebellious city with 500-pound bombs and raked its streets with cannon and machine-gun fire. There were so many dead that the soccer field became the only place to bury the bodies. Supposedly avenging Saddam Hussein’s old mass graves of the 1980s and 1990s, Bush’s policies have opened up new ones.
Even Bush’s oft-repeated assertion about closing Hussein’s torture chambers and…